Shannen Doherty turns 50: See her life and career in photos

Happy 50th birthday, Shannen Doherty! The iconic actress celebrates the milestone on April 12, 2021. To celebrate, is taking a look back at her life and career in this photo flashback…

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Shannen Doherty was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 12, 1971. She landed her first big break at 11, scoring the role of Jenny Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie.” She starred on the show from 1982 to 1983.

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For her next big role, Shannen Doherty joined the cast of “Our House” in 1986. She played Kris Witherspoon on the series, which ran from 1986 to 1988, alongside stars Patrick Duffy and Deidre Hall.

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Shannen Doherty’s first big movie break came with the dark comedy “Heathers.” In the 1989 film, Shannen played one of the titular Heathers — Heather Duke — in a popular high school clique alongside Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Lisanne Falk and Kim Walker.

Right after “Heathers,” Shannen Doherty landed the role that made her a household name — Brenda Walsh on Aaron Spelling’s hit TV drama “Beverly Hills, 90210” — in 1990.

Hunk sandwich! With the success of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” its stars became pop culture superstars. Shannen Doherty is seen here at the 1991 Emmys with co-stars Luke Perry and Jason Priestley. 

In the early ’90s, she said “Yes!” Shannen Doherty got engaged to boyfriend Chris Foufas, though the two wouldn’t last. It was her first failed engagement… 

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Saturday night! Shannen Doherty hosted iconic sketch-comedy show “Saturday Night Live” in October 1993. 

Shannen Doherty got engaged for a second time — this time to Max Factor heir Dean Factor — in 1993. The romance was brief: By May that same year, he’d filed for a restraining order against the actress and they went their separate ways.

By October 1993, Shannen Doherty had moved on — to marriage! The actress wed Ashley Hamilton — the son of actor George Hamilton and model Alana Stewart — that month after a brief courtship. They were divorced by April 1994.

Time to go! Shannen Doherty (in a scene with a young Michael Cudlitz) decided to leave “Beverly Hills, 90210” after the fourth season in 1994. 

After her time on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Shannen Doherty scored a role in filmmaker Kevin Smith’s 1995’s comedy, “Mallrats.”

Shannen Doherty filled up the next few years with lots of made-for-TV movies. She’s seen here in 1997’s “Sleeping with the Devil.” She also appeared in “The Ticket” that same year.

Shannen Doherty scored another Aaron Spelling show in 1998 — “Charmed.” This time, she took center stage with Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs in a tale of three sisters who happen to be witches. She played Prue Halliwell — whom AOL later named the 10th best witch in TV history. 

In 2002, Shannen Doherty tied the knot for the second time — this time to Rick Salomon. The relationship was brief: They had the marriage annulled after just nine months. 

Though she never had children herself, Shannen Doherty is godmother to friend Jason London’s daughter Cooper Smith London, whom he shares with actress Charlie Spradling. She’s seen here with Cooper at the “Spy Kids 2” premiere in 2002. 

In 2003, Shannen Doherty signed on to host “Scare Tactics,” a series on the Sci Fi Channel that spooked people via a candid-camera setup. 

When it came time for the original “Beverly Hills, 90210” to get a CW spinoff in the late ’00s, Shannen Doherty stepped up to reprise her role as Brenda. She played the iconic character in four of the show’s first episodes in 2008, starring alongside former co-star Jennie Garth, who was reprising her role as Kelly Taylor. Shannen appeared in a few more episodes of the series through 2009.

By 2009, Shannen Doherty had a new man in her life. She started dating photographer Kurt Iswarienko, who joined her at Entertainment Weekly and Women In Film’s pre-Emmys party that September.

Shannen Doherty put on her dancing shoes in 2010! She joined the cast of “Dancing With the Stars” for the show’s 10th season where she was paired with pro Mark Ballas. Her tenure was brief: Shannen was the first celebrity eliminated from the dance competition series. 

In 2011,Shannen Doherty signed on to film her own reality show, “Shannen Says.” The WE tv series focused on her and fiancé Kurt Iswarienko, a photographer, as they planned their October 2011 Malibu wedding. It aired in 2012. 

In 2015, Shannen Doherty announced devastating news — she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy as part of her treatment. Husband Kurt Iswarienko — seen here with Shannen at a Stand Up to Cancer event in 2016 — was by her side for it all.

Shannen Doherty has long counted fellow former child star Sarah Michelle Gellar — who joined her at the American Cancer Society’s Giants of Science Los Angeles Gala in November 2016 — as a close friend. “It’s so nice for me to have a female friend that feels no threat, no jealousy. We have never felt that with each other,” Shannen — who starred on The WB’s “Charmed” at the same time SMG starred on the network’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” — told “Entertainment Tonight” in 2020. “We’ve done nothing but lift each other up and support each other in our careers and champion one another.”

In 2017, Shannen Doherty had some happy news to share — she announced that her cancer was in remission! She got back to work the following year, starring in the TV movie “No One Would Tell” and appearing on the television adaptation of “Heathers.” 

The “Beverly HIlls, 90210” gang got back together in 2019 for a reboot, “BH90210.” Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling and Jason Priestley all reunited for the series, playing themselves in a slightly altered reality inspired by their real lives post-“Beverly Hills, 90210.” The show was canceled after one season. 

In 2020, Shannen Doherty revealed that her cancer had returned a year earlier and had advanced to stage 4. She’s seen here at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards in 2019 not long after she got the diagnosis. “I want people to not hear stage IV cancer and think of the person that is gray and falling over and they can’t move and they’re going into hospice and they can’t work,” she told pal Sarah Michelle Gellar during an “Entertainment Tonight” interview in October 2020. “You get written off so quickly, even though you’re vital and healthy and happy and wanting to go out there and work. …[I’m] hopefully [giving] a different face to all of this.”

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